oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Current abortion law in Ireland: a valuable lesson for South Africa

Volume 31, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The legal position on abortion in Ireland clearly illustrates the dilemma when the foetus is accorded a constitutional right to life. Entrenching this right in a bill of rights or criminalising abortion does not bring the protection so many pro-life lobbyists are striving for. In this regard, Ireland finds itself one step behind South Africa in the sense that it can be said that the foetus is actually worse off than in South Africa where abortion on demand is available. Research has indicated that countries which permit abortion on request actually report lower abortion statistics, whereas those countries in which abortion is criminalised or where abortion on request is not available, are faced with shockingly high abortion figures. In the light of the present uncertainty surrounding the status of the human embryo and foetus and the question on the constitutionality of the South African Choice on the Termination of Pregnancy Act, it is suggested that the valuable Irish lesson should not go unnoticed.

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